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92 The Manticore 2

    "That's a manticore. It is a giant beast with the body of a lion, the wings of a dragon, the head of a man, and a tail of deadly spikes. Due to its wings and darts, its skin is tougher than that of a normal Lion." He explained as he got himself ready.

    "What do you think you are doing?" She asked him, scanning his body from head to toe.

    "What does it look like I am doing? Getting ready to fight of course."

    "You've got no weapon. What are you planning on doing? Using your head?" She chides him.

    "Well, yes."

    Astrid stood straight and looked at him like someone who had gone bunkers.

    "You're kidding right?"

    "Nope I am serious."

    "How do you expect to use your head against this kind of beast? I am pretty sure you want to be it's meal. It is obvious, you are tired of living."

    "What do you mean? I meant my brain, form a strategy, make a plan."

    "Ohh... That's what you meant!"

    "What were you thinking?"

    "Umm... Well, you know, your head actually." She scratched her head as she spoke.

    It was Jareth's turn to feel speechless. How in  heaven's name was she expecting him to use his head? Even though he was brave, he wasn't stupid enough to charge at a Manticore with just his wits and head.

    The Manticore roared again, renting the air as it drew closer. Astrid skin seems to crawl at the sound. Both Jareth and her tensed at the sound and turned their heads almost instinctively in the direction of the sound.

    They moved two steps back with every step it took. Suddenly there was a blood cuddling roar from the east, sending swarms of birds fleeing from the trees, screeching and howling in fear.

    "Damn it!" Jareth cursed underneath his breathe. "It's roar attracted other beasts this way and definitely would give away our location to the soldiers."

    "Damn those hungry stealing beast, coming to drag my prey with me." The Manticore bregrudingly said.

    Astrid turned her head towards Jareth. Her jaw fell open as her senses slowly registered this new discovery. It could talk.

    Jareth cast a glance her way and saw her perplexed expression. Ohh right she lived in the human kingdom all her life, so little common things, such as this, were completely foreign to her.

    "Now that they are distracted, I better poison them first with my farts before I eat them. I normally would prefer them fresh but, I cannot delay any longer." The Manticore thought.

    He turned sideways, steadied itself, and pointed its tail in her direction. It was about striking at Astrid when Jareth caught sight of it.

    "Aaaaaasssssstttrrriiddddd!!!"

    He yelled her name and dived at her. Caught off guard, she fell down with him on top of her as he held her head protectively, in his hands and rolled on the ground, dodging the poisonous darts the Manticore threw at them.

    "Grrrhhh!! Damn you stupid elf, disrupting my plans."

    Before Jareth and Astrid could get up, the Manticore charged at them again and lifted its front paws, and hit down on them.

    Astrid lifted her left hand just in time and erected a magical force field over them. The moment its paws landed, it hit the an invincible force rather than them. It didn't stop but kept on pouncing on it.

    With each strike from the Manticore, Astrid could feel her magic slip away. The force was much and cold sweat broke on her forehead.

    "Damn it." She said through gritted teeth.

    "Hold on Astrid."

    "Think of something Jareth, I can't hold it for too long. I would let go of the magic and use a  mighty wind to push it several feet backward."

    "Okay, on my count you would release your hold and push it back, then we would move away from the beast. While I distract it, use your magic to... "

    One more hit from the Manticore and the force field  acting as a barrier broke off. As its paws came crashing down, Jareth pulled Astrid with him and rolled to his left away from the beast.

    Not wasting the chance again, both of them got up at once and took a stance, ready to attack.

    Seeing that it had missed, the Manticore turned angrily at them. It needed to finish with these meals before the other beasts arrived...

    As soon as it leaped again, both of them darted in separate directions. The beast looked at them angrily, his brows furrowed deeply as he flared his nostrils.

    It turned its gaze to Jareth and took a step closer in his direction. "Why don't I take care of the troublesome one first, before that scardy cat."

    "What! Who are you calling a scardy cat?" Astrid quickly formed two ice swords as she spoke. "Jareth!" She called out and threw one sword at him.

    "Wait your turn girl. I would make your death sweet and painful."
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